Joe Clarke is not a name that many outside of the world of kayaking would have known until yesterday. This morning however, with his face splashed across the front pages of almost every national newspaper, is a completely different story.
Yesterday evening the 23-year-old from Staffordshire paddled the race of his life to take the gold medal in the K1 canoe slalom – the individual kayak race – at the Rio White Water centre. Having made it through Sunday’s heats safely, Joe looked excellent in yesterday’s semi-final, qualifying in third place.
From that solid starting position he then had an absolute blinder of a race, ripping through the gates to set a time of 88.53 seconds. But despite not putting a paddle stroke wrong, Joe still faced an agonising wait while the final two competitors – Slovenia’s Peter Kauser and Czech Republic’s Jiri Prskavec – headed down the course.